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Police on high alert in South Tamil Nadu after 4 beheadings in ten days

- September 24, 2021

Chennai, Sept 24 (BPNS)

Police have drawn flak in South Tamil Nadu after repeated murders and beheadings taking place at South Tamil Nadu including districts of Dindigul and Tirunelveli.

People of the area are worried whether these are going back to the mid 90’s days of killings and reprisal killings in the name of caste. It was after strong police intervention that these areas could come back to normalcy.

Sudheer Kumar, 28, a young IT professional from Tirunelveli and working in a multinational company at Chennai while speaking to IANS said,” I am very much ashamed to speak to people that I am from Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu after all these beheadings are happening in my home district. The fight in the name of caste and reprisal killings waiting for several years for revenge is taking us back to the stone age. Won’t go back home till situation turns normal.”

A farmhand , Sankara subramanian, a Thevar was murdered on September 13 and his decapitated head was found at the Gopalasamudram cremation ground. This gave police a vital clue behind the murder of Sankarasubramanian as in 2013, Manthiram, a dalit was murdered.

In a case of retaliation, on September 15,a gang murdered a Dalit person, Mariappan (35), and removed his head, and placed it at the spot where Sankara Subramanian was murdered. Mariappan was accused in another murder case of 2014.

Police arrested six persons including Manthiram’s son Maharaja( 20) for the murder of Sankara Subramanian and eight people were arrested in the murder of Mariappan.

While both these murders took place at  Tirunelveli district within a span of two days, in another gruesome incident, a woman Nirmala Devi (70) the fifth accused in the murder of a Dalit leader,C. Pasupathi Pandian was murdered and her head severed and kept in front of the residence of Pandiyan.

 Nirmala Devi was charged in the murder case of Pandian after she had given asylum to the suspected assailants of the Dalit leader. The incident occurred in broad daylight at Dindigul district on September 23.

In another chilling incident of violence and murder, a 38-year-old Stephen Raj was murdered and beheaded on September 23 evening by a group of bike-borne assailants. His decapitated head was left at the spot where he was murdered at Anumantharayan Kottai. The police could not find the reason behind the murder of Stephen Raj and s probing whether it had any connection with the murder of Nirmala Devi on the same day.

The killings and counter killings in South Tamil Nadu districts in the name of caste have kept police on its foot. South Zone Inspector General of Police, TS Anbu who is camping in Tirunelveli told media persons that the police will crush the gangs who are taking the law into its hands and that no criminal raj would be allowed in South Tamil Nadu.

A retired senior police officer said that the situation is worse than in 1995 when the bus services were stopped in the evenings for 40 days at a stretch due to caste killings and reprisals. He said that those days there were police officers who had fire in their bellies and who were go-getters but now there are officers whose knees shake when confronting an irate mob.

With Tirunelveli going to rural local body elections on October 6 and October 9, political parties have called upon the police to ensure that law and order are not getting out of hands.

AIADMK leader O. Panneerselvam has already called upon the State Chief Minister, M.K. Stalin to ensure peace and harmony in South Tamil Nadu and not to allow killings and counter killings happen in the area. He said that maintenance of law and order is a necessity and responsibility of the administrators.

A social activist, Shyam Krishnan of Tirunelveli said that a caste-dominated criminal eco-system is evolving in the area with openly collecting funds to conduct criminal cases in the court of law for the criminals who have openly conducted the murders and severed heads. He said that amounts ranging from Rs 20,000 are being paid by affluent people belonging to their brethren from the same caste to fight the criminal cases.

Sources in the police said that they had information of a particular community having mobilized money to the tune of Rs 3 crore to fight the criminal cases and to engage good criminal lawyers.

Dr. M.K. Krishnan, Social scientist and former Professor of Social Sciences at a foreign university and from South Tamil Nadu while speaking to BPNS said, “ Until and unless the hero tag is not removed from the criminals who kill and severe the head of a person, these criminal acts would continue. There need be proper awareness and education among local youths that killing a person and severing his head is not heroism. Sadly this is not happening in several parts of South Tamil Nadu and still, caste is a major factor that decides human behavior. Authorities have to take strong measures but proper awareness is a must to prevent such incidents in future.”